Streamlining performance in ServiceNow – The ‘items per page’ value

Performance is the Achilles heel of ServiceNow. We have seen many instances poorly performing due to several reasons, but fortunately one of them is easy and quick to solve.

Users try to get the best experience of any tool we use and the compromise between that experience and the information we really need on the screen each time, may affect performance. This is the case when we select having lists of tens of rows or ‘items per page’ in a form just because we don’t like pagination. If this is done by ten or twenty users, it will not affect the instance at all. But if this is done by a thousand users which are regular users of the system, we definitively have a performance issue in the instance. The degradation of the system can be slow, but steady.

The graphic below shows a real case of an instance scanned by QC for ServiceNow where the tool detected different users who changed that setting over time to reach to more than 1100 users with a row count bigger or equal than 100. This was affecting the performance of the instance in particular moments of the day. And it had a snow ball effect: “since the form takes 6 seconds to load, I’ll select more rows to display so I have to wait only once’. The snow ball effect ended up affecting all users in the instance.

snowball effect graphic

The good news is this is easy to solve. Administrators can easily cap the number of rows to be displayed in lists by going to System > Properties and selecting the values they want as shown in the picture:

System > Properties and selecting the values sreenshot

If we delete the 100 value, this won’t allow users to show more than 50 rows in a list and they will have to paginate, resulting in a better user experience for all the rest of the ServiceNow users.

However, we will need still to act for the already existing users with the value 100 or bigger. ServiceNow Technical Support can assist you with updating user preferences in bulk, should you wish to reset them back to 20 or 50 rows per page.


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